Urban Islands: The Symposium

This day a symposium was held to finish the first day of Urban Islands 2009. An area of 60 or so students in an area in UTS combined together alongside a couple of guests to start throwing ideas around about their projects on Cockatoo Island. As Thomas Rivard place it “the intent is to place too much to your heads. After all, too much is always just about right”.

Following a short introduction the pupils we divide into 5 classes (each with a couple of the special guests to seat) and were posed a question get them talking distinct epochs of the Island’s history and then return to the room to facilitate further discussion. Allow me to briefly run over what all the groups had to say.

The Geological

The first group had the job of studying the geological areas of Cockatoo Island, facing the question “If an Island sits in the center of the volcano and no-one sees it, does this exist?

They covered all aspects of reality and existence, themselves questioning “Have we landed on the moon”? The Isle is present it doesn’t. Unless we’re physically on Cockatoo Island then we must rely on evidence to prove its existence.

The truth is in this modern world, we have come to be nearly entirely reliant on technology to show the occurrence of something. We look photos to prove the occurrence of Cockatoo Island, or look at Google maps. But can we anticipate tech?

The Colonial

This group has been looking at the colonial background of Cockatoo Island and also the contrast between the reality of its violence and brutality in comparison to this romanticised, picturesque view of it., Posed the question “Do we need to burst the glorious myths of the past” the chose to change the emphasis from “exploding” into “exposing”.

Different ideas were thrown around, thinking about the history of the island and the fact that dispossession of the property was as significant a component of the history since the colonial use itself. The question has been to expose that, but to let people create their own decisions.

Some possible approaches appeared to be associated with merely aiming to emphasize and existing parts of the island to people, somehow keeping people from impacting on the island themselves while still being able to experience it, and also the possibility of partnering with Native Australian’s to produce possibilities for the Isle.

The Industrial

In taking a look at the Island’s background as a shipyard for warships (jointly productive and destructive) this group was contemplating this question; “From the ontological celebrity death match, that wins? Tactics or tactility?”

Arguments from both sides were heard. The Isle is strategic – its considered, own is pre-planned and considered. Through its layout and actual usage, its whole existence is strategic.

It is tactile. The island gives a sensory overload of shape and texture. The enormous industrial ruins are cathedrals, monuments to business and fill us with an longing for what was once there.

At the conclusion of the day, use and the Island’s inception may have been tactical, but the tactility is the thing that lasts.

The Article Industrial

Taking a look at the postmodern Cockatoo Island – a place where the imagery of the past is turned scenic, this group was seeking to answer the query ” Te Ta or Bladerunner; Who owns our future?”

These are just two competing, nevertheless both distopian, perspectives of the future. Te Ta arranged and envisages a modernist world. The world of Bladerunner is filthy, complicated, a consumerist and technological distopia.

This group came to the conclusion that there are 3 wide ways in which the Island could be worked on. The first is to concentrate on presenting and maintaining the background of the Island. Secondly, there is the option to clear the property and begin afresh, with a vision of building something clean and pure (Ta Te). The next option is to embrace the existing grunge and nature of the site, and start to add layers of complexity (Bladerunner)

The Future (information age)

This group was confronting the query “Provocation or Disambiguation” and their response was a pitch for a new film.

The year is 2013 and also the Isle has once again been made off limits to visitors. A group of Danish Backpackers on a ship from Mexico crash to the Island, stranding them and in the procedure starting a fire that levels everything on the Island. They survive and plant seeds that they are carrying with them.

The Island begins to become overgrown with flora, a new regrowth. Boats start to return to the Isle, but on docking, the flora overtakes them and they are added to the land mass Island. Eventually Cockatoo Island becomes attached to the mainland.

There was a brief discussion on some thoughts that had been brought up so 22, considering the groups with presented. The pupils were encouraged not to take care of the Isle TOO reverentially having thoughts. It was said that the organic rise of the Island had ended, and we should now think in ways that were various. Just like a tree that has died, it is not a living thing, but like wood, is a raw material. It’s time look ahead and to lose the nostalgia.

While the guests grouped talking thoughts raised during the day the pupils all filed out to get back to work. They all head out to the Isle for the very first time to learn what they are working 19, tomorrow.